Looking for a Quick Ride?

Rent a bike! Similar to the Flexcar car sharing program, but perhaps paid for in part by advertising, we may soon be able to rent any of up to 500 bicycles in downtown Portland.

From portlandonline.com:

The City of Portland is accepting proposals for a bike rental system in the central city area. Imagine being able to rent a bike for a half-hour to get to your downtown meeting, grab lunch at your favorite, out-of-the-way spot, or just go for a ride on the waterfront. You can read more from the Portland Tribune and from BikePortland.org.

You can listen to an NPR story here.

5 responses to “Looking for a Quick Ride?”

  1. I think this is a great idea. The potential of hundreds more cyclists on the streets of the city core at any given time will go a long ways to slowing traffic and increasing awareness of bicycles in general. More bike riders will lead to improved safety for everyone.

    Implementation, however, is everything. The value of the system is in allowing one-way rides. There need to be enough rental stations that a person could realistically ride to any central city destination and return the bike nearby. Users should not be expected to lock the bike. If there are too few kiosks from the start, ridership will not take off, unattended parked bikes will be stolen, and the system will likely be declared a failure.

    Helmet use is also an issue that’s been brought up repeatedly, and it’s a thorny issue indeed. The European systems make no provisions for helmet use, which isn’t a problem because helmet use isn’t part of the culture. Personally, I think the need for helmets on slow-speed, upright bikes is far overstated. If successful, the sheer number of riders on the road would make it safer to ride without helmets anyway. Many people will disagree with me though, and rental helmets could be a sticking point here. And I know I’d never put on a helmet without knowing where it’d been. Hopefully the successful bidder can come up with an acceptable solution.

  2. I’m an experienced bicycle commuter, and there is no way in hell I’d ride downtown with no helmet.

    Unless they had a cycle track or some sort of extra-safe buffered bicycle lane/street.

  3. I am certain I join my Portland neighbors in shock and sadness today, in the face of yet another bicylist’s death, in yet another right-turning motor vehicle vs bicycle accident.

    We have a problem with basic bicycle traffic safety, and I think it comes at least in part, from the blind insistence on putting bicycles in the immediate proximity of street traffic on busy main arterials like Interstate Avenue. For a City that claims to be so bike friendly, Portland has an uncomfortably high number of fatal bicycle accidents, and part of it is because of the location of bike lanes.

    However, the drivers blame the bikers, and the bikers blame the cars, and in the meantime the fatal accidents continue.

    Something needs to give, and unfortunately it is going to have to be the bicyclists. In a contest between motor vehicle and bicycle, the motor vehicle will win every single time. Until bikers in Portland wise up, and start actively and aggressively practicing traffic safety, the death toll will continue to mount.

    Instead of finding ways to buy public art to honor the Zoobombers, I would like to see Portland and all of the surrounding Communities including Vancouver, develop a bicyclist safety training program, that teaches traffic safety and survival techniques to the bicycle community. It may be time to consider licensing bicyclists in order to make sure they are aware of traffic safety like motor vehicle drivers are.

    Teaching bikers how to recognize impending danger, like a blinking right-turn signal, would be a start toward reducing these deaths, but nothing will substitute for common sense from everyone on the streets.

  4. We have a problem with basic bicycle traffic safety, and I think it comes at least in part, from the blind insistence on putting bicycles in the immediate proximity of street traffic on busy main arterials like Interstate Avenue.

    I think we have a basic problem with auto safety. As Jeff Mapes pointed out in the Oregonian, everyone is unsafe on our streets and highways including people in vehicles. That will continue so long as 40-50,000 people dying every year is acceptable.

  5. I don’t at all agree the rental bike idea will work. Portland is a very pedestrian-friendly and mass transit well arranged. It’s more important for most visitors to experience that about Portland.

    Portland does have comparably good bicycle lanes, street arrangements and specific bikeways, but visitors are not familiar with them. For experienced bicyclers who visit, let Portland’s bike shops handle rentals, especially near Waterfront Park, Riverplace, OMSI.

    Portland is not yet a European-style capital for bicycle touring. If Portland City Hall puts this in place, the investment will NOT pan out and is likely to be an embarrassment like those stupid Smart cars. Heh heh. Stupid Smart cars? Heh heh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *